New Poll: Americans Divided on Abortion, Oppose South Dakota Ban

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 19, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Poll: Americans Divided on Abortion, Oppose South Dakota Ban Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 19, 2006

Washington, DC ( — A new national poll conducted by the Los Angeles Times and Bloomberg News finds Americans equally divided on the issue of abortion. When it comes to the recently approved ban on virtually all abortions in South Dakota, however, Americans oppose such a measure.

Asked when abortions should be legal, 46 percent said it would be legal all (27%) or most (19%) of the time. Some 43 percent took a pro-life view saying abortions should be illegal with exceptions (41%) or always illegal (2%).

On the South Dakota abortion ban, 34 percent support the measure with 24 percent strongly supporting it and 10% somewhat approving of the ban.

The poll found 58 percent of respondents disapproved of the abortion ban with 43% strongly disapproving and 15 percent somewhat opposed.

The polling results on the issue of abortion in general are close but not in sync with most polls on the subject. The most accurate polls break down a respondents’ view of abortion into more precise categories.

A January CBS News poll found 55 percent of Americans took a pro-life position on abortion opposing all or most abortions while just 42 percent supported legalized abortion through part or all of a woman’s pregnancy.

A November 2005 Gallup poll found a 54-42 percent pro-life margin, which is similar to Wirthlin Worldwide polls and those from other polling firms which break down the abortion position into six categories.

The Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll likely skewed the results in favor of abortion because some Americans don’t know that rape and incest abortions are rare. Surveys of women who have abortions by the Alan Guttmacher Institute, which is affiliated with Planned Parenthood, show that less than 2 percent of women have an abortion for those reasons.

As a result, some respondents may have indicated they support abortion most of the time thinking such abortions are much more common.

The new media poll was conducted from April 8 to 11 and included interviews with 1,357 American adults. It has a 3 percent margin of error.